Magazine September 1, 2021, Issue

The Wolf Wars Are Back

Wolves in Yellowstone (Rebecca R Jackrel/Getty Images)
But responsible local control could make peace between ranchers and conservationists

In 1984, Hank Fischer, a wolf advocate, organized a meeting with ranchers at a schoolhouse in rural Idaho to discuss a proposal to reintroduce gray wolves to the Northern Rockies. Wolves were eradicated from the region in the 1920s, but there was growing interest from environmentalists in restoring their populations. Tensions were high. As he began his talk amid a sea of cowboy hats, a loud voice bellowed from the back of the room. “Hank Fischer,” the rancher shouted, “ain’t nobody killed you yet?”

It might as well have been a scene out of Kevin Costner’s hit television show Yellowstone. The

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